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June 3, 2020 Beyond The Dash

How Much Does an Obituary Cost?

What to expect when placing an obituary online and in print

How Much Does an Obituary Cost?
Factors that affect the price of a print obituary include length, photos and the number of newspapers that should publish it. (Shutterstock)

Most people never expect to have to write an obituary for someone they held dear. Indeed, many don't even know what an obituary is until they are tasked with writing one in the days following a death. In this article, we will discuss what an obituary is, and how much it is likely to cost.

What is an obituary?

An obituary is the final record of a person’s life: their achievements, interests, passions and milestones. Because they become part of the public record, obituaries keep the memory of those we loved alive. 

A basic obituary will state the birth and death date of the deceased, as well as other biographical information such as places lived, education, profession, predecessors, survivors, and funeral service details. Contrary to what you may have heard, there is no legal obligation to publish an obituary in the newspaper.

A detailed obituary will focus on the important moments that made up the life of a loved one, rather than the death itself. It serves to inspire readers to live their own lives well. Including short anecdotes shows readers the true character of the person who has passed away

When is an obituary published?

Since the obituary is the first public announcement of a death, it will need to be written soon after the death occurs. The obituary itself should run in the newspaper at least a few days in advance of the funeral service. This will allow readers time to plan to attend if the service is open.

Where is an obituary published? 

In the past, folks usually lived and died in the same town where they were born. At that time, an obituary would be placed in the most prominent or preferred local newspaper as a means of announcing the sad news. 

People move around a lot more these days. If the deceased person lived in many places throughout their life, it's a good idea to publish a notice in each of those cities. That way, all who knew them have to chance to receive the news and express condolences for the loss. 

Online obituaries can be a better way of announcing a death across multiple cities or countries, since they can be shared quickly and less expensively. 

How much will the obituary notice cost?

The price of an obituary depends on the individual newspaper's rates, the number of days the notice will run in print, and the length of the obituary story itself.

A short obituary can easily cost $200–$600, whereas a long, detailed one can cost upwards of $1,000. Families usually include a high-quality photo of their deceased loved one, which will also contribute to the bottom line.

Online obituaries offer a big price advantage. Many newspapers offer an online death notice for $50–$100, with little to no limit on the length. This means the full life story can be recounted and shared across the world for a much lower cost.

Keep in mind, an online obituary doesn't necessarily replace the tradition of running a print notice. Families often keep a copy of the print obituary as a keepsake. They can also be incorporated into a physical memory album, funeral program or register book.

Beyond the Dash can help with affordability

Placing an obituary on Beyond the Dash can help reduce costs of placing an obituary for a loved one. Our online obituaries are free to place and share. 

Once the online version is complete, it's easy to convert the digital notice to print. Beyond the Dash streamlines the entire obituary placement process with over 6,000 newspapers from across North America as options for print.

Family and friends can always go back to the online obituary to edit the story, add memories and share special moments. A person's online obituary will last for generations as a record of their life and accomplishments. 

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